Friday, June 26, 2009

Twitter Time! @MesaIssues

This week went by fast, and now, FGITF - thank goodness it's twitter Friday. The blogging today will be micro-style via our twitter page @MesaIssues.

Check us out at We would always appreciate a follow!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Below average overachiever

Aim low and beat expectations. Although Mesa's graduation rates are a little bit below the national average, they far exceed the expectations of Education Week magazine. Is that good...or bad?

On the bad side, it is celebrating underachievement. Sure, they beat expectations, but shouldn't they be a little higher? I know the neighborhood demographics are much different between Mountain View and Westwood, but is it enough for a 13 point drop?

On the good side, the state has had the second greatest improvement in the past 10 years, and MPS has instituted a lot of different programs to keep kids in school and get those who have dropped out alternatives for them to earn their diploma.

This shows that MPS has done quite a bit over the last few years to make improvements. Let's hope they are able to continue to improve, even if they are going to be forced to do more with less.

Beverly Park video

The Tribune has a really neat video of the building of Beverly Park and the collection of volunteers from the community, Home Depot, and Kaboom who came to help. It was really neat to see so many people working together to make such an amazing project happen. Plus, how often do people get to see playground equipment being put together? It's fascinating that some of those things come in disassembled pieces instead of just falling out of the sky pre-assembed.

We would have embedded the video here, but it appears that the Tribune doesn't seem to have the sort of capability. We don't know why they have gone into the amateur video making business, but not given people the tools needed to help share their videos. It doesn't quite make sense.

More on Mesa and the state budget

Not too much new here except that Mesa is "nervous" about the current state budget standoff. In a bit of not all that shocking news, if the state decides to shut down, it would cause problems for Mesa and other cities throughout the state.

The bigger question here is why is the legislature getting away with such bad behavior? Why are we even talking about a state shut down in the first place? Why are the people who represent Mesa kicking religious groups out of hearings?

It's no wonder why the legislature is being blamed by 52% of people for causing the problem. The real question is: does this apply to taxes as well? If the legislative budget passes and takes a bite out of the local budgets, cities like Mesa and other will most likely be forced to raise taxes, since they have already made their dramatic budget cuts. In that scenario, does the legislature still get the blame?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Democratic inroads into Mesa

Don't think the Democrats have their sights set on Arizona? Think again. President Obama has made his presence known in Mesa once again, this time sending U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to La Mesita family homeless shelter as part of the "United We Serve" volunteer program. West Mesa, which is part of Congressman Harry Mitchell's district, has become a high profile spot, landing one of 17 visits as part of the kick-off.

This President has taken more interest in Mesa in 6 months than the previous President took in 8 years. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the conservative Republican leaning district is being represented by a Democrat who is at the top of the GOP target list? Let's hope that Mesa has the ear of the President and the Congressman on keeping the Cubs here.

When you think about it, Obama's team has taken quite an interest in Arizona in general. He has spent quite a bit of time in Phoenix, and he even came to Tempe to give ASU's commencement speech. Is this to make sure that he has a better showing in Arizona the next time around, or do the Democrats think that they can make some moves in Arizona?

With the Republicans fighing over the budget, they have eclipsed the fact that Napolitano caused this problem in the first place. The longer this goes on, the greater the liklihood that the Democrats have a shot at the Governor's office once again.

Mitchell has done a decent job as an independent voice, voting against the Democrats when he has to, and still riding the Obama train as much as possible. This combined with the fact that the Republicans will probably face another bloody primary, pretty much seals the deal for Mitchell. There aren't any other apparent moves being made in the East Valley as far as we can tell, but maybe the Dems will try to muster up more than a scapegoat to run against Flake next year.

The elections in 2010 will be the first true test to see if Obama still has the "charm" of if it is already starting to wear off.

Mesa Council approves next year's budget

Following the major budget cuts of the last year and the major reorganization effort, the Mesa City Council passed their tentative budget for next year. It is being called an "upper spending limit" which is good, especially since, although the economy appears to at least leveled out, we never know what could happen.

The new budget banks on about $50 million from stimulus money, which will hopefully fill the gap until Mesa's sales tax numbers start to recover. However, we should realize that Mesa can't count on stimulus dollars forever, even if the current program gets extended.

Also included in this plan is increased user fees, including fees tacked onto utilities and increased costs for plots at Mesa Cemetary. Unfortunately, once fees are raised, they are rarely reduced. When the economy does finally recover, that may be something for Mesa to consider to keep its fiscal fitness in place.

When times are bad, government budgets go on a diet and opt for the more essential sustaining items. As times get better, the spending naturally returns to previous levels as "wants" replace "needs." If Mesa remembers the sacrifices that people are making now (ie increased impact fees, pay cuts, etc) perhaps restoring these items will be a top priority instead of binging on other spending projects.

Where is Mesa on the state budget?

We got a press release from the Governor's office announcing the individuals and organizations who have signed on as supporters of her budget plan. You can check out the fairly impressive list here.

The list includes East Valley Partnership and ASU President Michael Crow as well as others who represent the East Valley. What was interesting to note, however, was that the list doesn't contain anyone from the Mesa City Council or the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. As we have discussed before, the other budget options that are out there could have some serious repercussions for Mesa's already fragile budget.

If Mesa isn't supporting this option, what other options are out there? With the budget crisis creeping towards our state with each passing day, what should be done? Before cuts are made, we still maintain that the decision should be given a chance to go to the voters. Maybe we will get some clarity from the Arizona Supreme Court today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Possible homicide near Dobson and Southern

Police are investigating a possible homicide at Dobson and Southern (Tribune version here).

We are trying not to turn this place into a police blotter, but there are fewer issues to discuss in the summer which means more focus will be placed on crime. Hopefully Mesa PD can keep a crime to a minimum.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Follow us on twitter @MesaIssues

You know what time it is. Twitter Friday. The blogging today will be micro-style via our twitter page @MesaIssues.

Check us out at We would always appreciate a follow!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A lot more on Gascon

A day after Gascon's announcement, there are a lot of takes on what his leaving means and how it will impact Mesa. First, he will be out by the end of July. So Mesa will have to work fast to find a replacement, or go with an interim chief for the time being.

It looks like the three Deputy chiefs will have their chance since Mayor Smith has said that whoever gets the job will be tasked to build on Gascon's foundation. The two Mesa police unions seem to have their eyes set on John Meza, who is currently in charge of operations. Meza in Mesa has a nice ring to it, but no one should blame Mesa if they choose to do a national search.

The other two interesting takes on Gascon leaving is the Republic's review of his legacy, and the concern from Latino leaders that his departure will be a setback. Both are done through the lense of race, which I think does more harm than good. First, Gascon did well by anyone's standards. His legacy review didn't need to be a who's who of hispanic surnames. Sort of smacks of lazy reporting.

Second, as for the concern from Latino leaders, it looks like the early front runner is a Latino, so I don't see their concern. The real problem is that the illegal immigration debate has become closely tied to ethnic backgrounds and stereotypes. It is hard to separate the two, but every time the media goes to a pro-hispanic organization to get opinions on illegal immigration, the rift is only going to get worse. Case in point, look at Gascon. Since Spanish was his first language, there were people out there that thought, no matter what, he won't be a strong advocate for enforcing immigration laws. The fact is, he did. Meanwhile, he also lowered crime 30% and homicides 50%.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

So long, Gascon

Mesa Police Chief George Gascon has taken the job as Chief of Police in San Francisco, California. While this is disappointing because there is still a lot of work to be done in Mesa, as we said before, it shouldn't be all that surprising.

He has always aspired to bigger and better things and it has been said all along that he would eventually be looking to return to California. His family is in California and Sheriff Joe is not. Talk about a double bonus.

Only time will tell how Gascon's legacy will play out in Mesa. He has done a lot to help the community and reduce crime. He has revolutionized the way Mesa does their police work and the tools and technology that they have at their disposal. He will always be able to point to this year's record low homicide rate as an example of his ability to create success.

On the other hand, he was an outspoken and public persona. He clashed openly with Sheriff Arpaio and it was clear that he was not one to back down. His strong personality and dedication to overall crime prevention made some feel like he wasn't focused enough on illegal immigration, an issue exacerbated by the fact that he was of Cuban-descent and had an accent.

Even more importantly, Mesa must now find a chief to take the reins and finish what Gascon has started. We cannot allow all of this progress to be halted because of a change in leadership. This is also an opportunity to foster a change in perception. Again, most thinking people understand that Mesa is not and never has been a "sanctuary city." However, the perception persists, and hiring someone who is tough on immigration, but a lot more thoughtful than the sheriff or any of the other zealots might be a good move.

We wish Gascon the best of luck in his future endeavor and thank him for leaving Mesa a better place.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Come on, give us a break!

We are trying so hard to look past the bad and wacky stuff that happens in Mesa. Then some nutty guy from Mesa tries to kill himself in some sort of elaborate way that involves a sword and driving himself into a pool.

To be clear, the event actually happened in Chandler, but since the guy was from Mesa, how much do you want to bet that this will be chalked up to the "only in Mesa" talk? Can't someone cut Mesa a break?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Downtown Mesa deserves a low-cost university

The discussion regarding the universities offering lower cost alternatives for 4 year degrees is starting to heat up. Their plan is to offer a 4th university in as soon as a year, and then phase in another 4 low-cost options in the next 11 or so years (can you believe that 2020 is only 11 years away?).

The plan has its good points and its bad points. On the good side, the tuition of these universities will be about 2/3rds of their counterparts, which will mean more affordable higher education. Also, if they are smart, the limited degrees offered at each college will be able to create some specialization that means that, while the programs will be limited, they won't necessarily be of a lower quality. With a lot of available land downtown, Mesa could make a pitch to land a college that specializes in health care, aerospace and or tourism (their HEAT emphasis). With light rail coming, there could be quite a great amount of synergy in the area.

On the bad side, in the latest version of the plan, it looks like the colleges would be under the control of Arizona State University. We have seen how that has worked for Polytechnic so far, and it would put a lot of eggs in ASU's basket when it comes to decision making and the focus of these programs. These colleges should be either independent from the other universities so they can offer affordable solutions and dedicate their efforts to providing quality education, not feed the other universities and their broader, more expensive programs.

Each college should have its own, albeit small (and perhaps even limited) administration to help drive ther goals of their respective college. Giving ASU absolute power over this affordable university system doesn't seem to be the prudent decision when they are already underutilizing the resources they already have.

For ASU, absolute power would corrupt absolutely.

Sad weekend in Mesa

We know there are folks out there like "Only in Mesa" @lolMesa who seem to think that bad stuff happens in Mesa in greater frequency then other parts of the Valley. We tend to believe that Mesa is no better or worse than any other part of town, which means we are capable of such greatness, but susceptible to such sadness as well.

This weekend was one of those times where we were the site of some seriously sad events:

First, a meth lab was broken up in West Mesa that was actively cooking enough to "supply a neighborhood." The good news is that the police dismantled in fairly quickly. The bad news is, how long was this guy and opperation and how many other Meth labs are out there?

Next, a 20 year old stripper left her two small children home for the night to fend for themselves, where they were found eating dogfood. Leaving kids home alone for any period of time is unacceptable, let alone from 2am to 10am. Thank goodness the children were found safe.

Finally, a repeat illegal immigrant was caught beating his wife and his 18 month old kid with his belt buckle. Now we have child abuse and illegal immigration in the same story in Mesa. Its not clear who will get the blame for this, but it is probably not going to go well. The suspect already admits to having been deported once and crossing back over illegally. Now, the taxpayers may have to pay to put him behind bars for child abuse.

Not a great weekend of news coverage, but even though these types of events happen within our community, we cannot allow them to become the hallmark of our city.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Its Twitter Friday already?

Wow, it seemed like this week went by quick! As our new Friday custom, the blogging today will be micro-style via our twitter page @MesaIssues.

Check us out at We would always appreciate a follow!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mesa's Growing Twitter Force

Mesa has a lot going for it in terms of the twitter-verse. There are several folks out there diligently tweeting and retweeting on a regular basis about the goings-on, deals, restaurants, and other happenings in Mesa. As they say, social media is the next big thing, so its pretty exciting to see so many businesses and organizations in #Mesa doing such a great job.

Here are a few folks that you should follow if you aren't following them already:

@VisitMesa is the definitely the leader of the pack. Lots of very interesting information and quick to pass on any Mesa information including sweet deals at local eateries. Definitely doing a great job promoting Mesa and trying to attract people.

@MesaArtsCenter is good at understanding the goal of twitter. The copius amount of exclamation points aside, they do a great job creating a personality and communicating with various followers. Its a good combination of information about the Arts Center and social interaction. May not speak to the "highbrows" that come to arts functions, but that's sort of the point.

@MesaEconDev is the steady hand. We have to admit that Mesa Economic Development was the first twitter we ever really heard about, or even mentioned. We even added their feed to the blog for awhile. We have to admit that the tinyurls were confusing and looked ugly at the time, but now we get it. Its a great place to get unfiltered economic news from Mesa.

@MesaChamber is still getting into the swing of things, but with so many events always going on, they have embraced twitter as a pretty effective feed for upcoming events. It will be interesting to see if they move to individual and inter business communication in the future or if it remains more of a one way outlet.

@MesaUnitedWay is the new kid on the block, but it looks like they are trying to work twitter into their latest campaign called "Our Children Matter." They just started tweeting today, but it is certainly a good cause.

As you know, we are trying out "Twitter Fridays" to give quick hits on different items of the day and more social interaction. That is going to be the plan for the near future, unless there is any breaking news that should be covered.

Getting More Bang out of the Bond Package

Mesa is going to get 4 new fire stations for the cost of the 3 that were approved as part of the bond package that passed last year. Competition and the lagging economy has driven down the bids in these projects, allowing Mesa to get more than they originally planned.

This is great news, especially in East Mesa, where the stations are desperately needed, and now they will see 3 new ones while West Mesa will get a new one that serves Riverview and takes the burden off of some of the other stations. All in all, this is good news, as long as Mesa can afford to pay the firefighters to staff the additional station.

The bigger impact here is the trust that this builds with the voters. We took a chance when we approved the first property tax in nearly 50 years. Mesa needs to show the voters that they can be good stewards of the money and deliver as promised. Needless to say, over delivering will definitely do the trick.

Its understood that this can't always happen (the economy will recover eventually), and the city shouldn't start to foster a culture of promising less just so they can overproduce. Now that they are going to deliver 3 for the price of 4, the next step is to make sure that these projects come in on budget and on time. We appreciate getting more with less, but we don't want to be promised that and then end up getting more because end up having to pay more.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Paying for growth

It looks like there may be a state budget deal on the horizon, but there is no word if the legislative halt to impact fees will be part of the plan. Mesa uses impact fees to help pay for the bonds needed to build projects in the growing parts of the city.

If the impact fee moratorium is part of the plan, it would put a major burden on the existing taxpayers of Mesa. They are estimating that Mesa could lose as much a $5.5 million. You think that's bad, Gilbert could lose $134 million and Queen Creek could lose as much as $13.9 million.

Development or "impact" fees are payments made by the builder or the developer to a city or town. Usually, its to help offset the traffic that they are bringing to the area or to alleviate the other burdens (such as public safety) that will be added to the City's budget for accommodating the new people. If the people are coming into the growing area, they should be the ones paying for the added burden. It certainly makes sense.

The idea of "Growth paying for itself" really seems to make a heck of a lot of sense. The article talks a lot about homes, so one would assume its the people who want to start building more homes who are pushing for this issue. If you are so interested in getting things going again, why not buy up some of the housing stock at a better price so the overall value goes up?

This is a simple case of some people trying to take advantage of this dire budget situation to help improve their bottom line. Hopefully, the Governor and the legislature will see through that and make sure its out of the final budget.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More on police suspensions

The Mesa Police officer who was 1 of 5 was suspended for misconduct for the two separate incidents noted last week is now saying that the suspect tried to head butt him, although the video does not show any such action. You can watch the video for yourself in this article.

No update about the officers involved in the other incident involving the disposal of the stillborn fetus, but the firefighters involved will not be disciplined. It sounds like the firefighters were on the scene and left with the woman, but claim no responsibility for the fetus. Should they have brought the fetus along to the hospital? Maybe. It would be helpful to know what their protocol is, and what their procedure would have been had they been the ones to decide the final plan for the fetus.

More on auto meltdown's impact on Mesa

Sometimes when you read about these major auto corporations, it is easy to feel detached. However, when you start to read the local impact that these major changes to the auto industry will have on our economy, things come into a little bit more focus.

First, we have an update on the Darner dealership who will soon lose their ability to sell new Chryslers. They are deeply discounting their cars to get them out before the deal goes through and they lose all warranty and other backing. The article makes it almost feel like an obituary, but there is a ray of hope in the fact that they are changing their signs tomorrow to Darner Auto Center, which on the surface at least shows they are willing to attempt to stay in business. Maybe they aren't changing their tune afterall.

The other interesting story is from the owner of Mesa Pontiac Buick GMC (formerly Coury), who is discussing how GM's bankruptcy is impacting his business. The good news is that he is not one of the ones on the cut list. He sticks to the talking points for the most part, trying to assure the consumers that everything is going to be okay, and that GM is really more successful than the bankruptcy lets on. At this point, he talked a lot about the "partnership" with GM moving forward, but the real question is what will the new GM look like?

When they split the company in two, will the dealers get to pick which brands they sell? It sounds like Saturn is going to be sold off to Penske. Do the current Saturn dealers go along with that or do they have the option of participating in the New GM? Will Pontiac stick around?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mesa Fireworks Cancelled

Well, as of now, it looks like Mesa's nearly 50 year long tradition of Fourth of July Fireworks at MCC is cancelled. This feels like one of those things where the publicity of the cancellation will ultimately attract someone to "save" it, but who knows, in this economy, it may be gone for this year.

Before you blame City of Mesa for this, it should be noted that they have been out of the event hosting business for a couple of years now. So, the Sertoma Club has picked up the slack. However, they are saying that the $35,000 for the event is hard to come by. How close are they? Would a drive for some donations via the web help? I don't know if the United Way drive for $5 contributions was a success, but the idea seemed noble.

Here's a thought: why not hit up the friends of the Pioneed Park Train? Remember, they have $26,000 bucks. It could be more people enjoy the fireworks show than would ever go check out that train. Plus, they could view this as a publicity exercise to get the word out about their train and why they need to save it. Then, they could take donations at the event.

Here's another idea, is there any money in the Fiesta District revitalization projects? MCC is in the fiesta district, and while thinking up a fancy name and a business plan is good, perhaps they could devote some funds to an actual event that brings people to the area.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Twitter Friday Fun

We are still getting used to this twitter thing, but what better way then to practice? So, once again, Mesa Issues will be offering our commentary, links, and cool people to follow today via our twitter page @MesaIssues.

So come on down and join us in a little bit of dialogue. Check us out at We would always appreciate a follow!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Did Toby Keith impress the "real" audience?

From all accounts, it looks like it was a successful opening of Toby Keith's bar and restaurant yesterday at Mesa Riverview. The Republic even has a slide show, complete with large crowds, which may be a docmented first for the entertainment district.

So the real question is: Did Toby Keith impress the "real" audience? And by that, I mean the investors from New York, Chicago, and other places who were on hand for the opening? As we have said before, its going to take more than just this one establishment to anchor a successful district. Kudos to the economic development director for getting those people there. It was a smart move to show outside investors the economic potential of Mesa - and it was the most ideal time to show them a bustling Riverview as opposed to, say, a regular Wednesday night.

Mayor Smith thanked Keith for his "investment," will others follow suit?

Naming rights for the Metro?

Remember when it was such a big deal that the light rail was going to be called "Metro." Uninspired, for sure, but hey, they promoted it anyway. Now, they are considering naming rights for light rail. Can't wait for the "Metro - brought to you by Gila River Casinos" or "University of Phoenix Metro," which ASU probably would love as much as Glendale loves it.

Are we being buttered up for the time when we realize that the light rail project is having major budget problems? Advertising and special event coverage is one thing, but naming rights are a little different. The Mercury are going with branding on their jerseys next year, but they aren't changing their name. If you want to slap a corporate logo on the side of the train, fine by us, but is shoehorning a sponsor name into the metro worth the money it will generate?

Mesa PD misconduct - Update

Five Mesa police officers have been placed on administrative leave following 2 separate incidents, one involving the mishandling of a stillborn fetus and the other involving the use of excessive force against a handcuffed prisoner (Tribune version here).

While there will be some questions about why Gascon has made this announcement while the investitgations into these incidents are still under way, its probably smart for the chief to get out in front of these issues which are likely to stir up some controversy. Coming from LA, one would assume that Gascon has a decent understanding of how the public reacts to video evidence of excessive force. In a conservative town like Mesa, the handling of the fetus will probably stir even more emotions.

In both cases, the officers showed poor judgement. Now the question is, what punishment fits these transgressions? First, since Nicholas Webster is involved in both incidents, he should probably be let go. Both incidents are henious to begin with, then combine the fact that he was part of both calls into question on if he can be an effective upholder of the law. The lieutenant, Lynn White, who made the decision to flush the stillborn fetus is also likely to receive harsh punishment. Ultimately, they made the decision that the other officers carried out. Would they have made the decision if the baby were larger? Who knows, but one thing is for certain, they should have followed a better protocol on the case.

In the end, punishments should be dealt and Gascon should be praised for handling this issue swiftly. However, we must all remember that it does not appear that either of these events have ANYTHING to do with illegal immigration. People who are here legally can make dumb choices too.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mayor Smith - Year 1

It has been a whole year since Mayor Scott Smith was sworn in and he and the rest of the council got right down to work. The Republic is doing a retrospective on Smith and the Tribune also has a write up about the impact that Smith's presence has had in Mesa.

It certainly looks like the Mayor and the new council get an A for their first year on the job, which is a huge jump from the general public mistrust of the previous mayor and council by the end of their term. Only time will tell if their popularity will continue, but its certainly a fantastic start.

Looking back, being thrust immediately into the budget crisis has turned out to be a good thing, because they were able to make their adjustments sooner and move on. Some other cities are only now trying to figure out what to do, and don't even get us started on the state's quagmire (which, by the way, we still think that Arizona should let Mesa decide for themselves)

At the hundred day mark, it looked like the bond election was going to be a major test for the council. In the end, it passed with flying colors creating the first property tax in Mesa in a very long time. The positive repercussions from this action will be felt for many years to come.

With the Gaylord election, Mesa took a shot at economic development while nearly the rest of the valley is struggling to do anything. And while we have to cautiously optimistic of the project, as long as they continue to tell us what is going on, the voters should be patient.

Even on the tougher issues like immigration, Waveyard, and the Cubs, Smith and the Council have shown that we can trust them to do the right thing and make decisions in the best interest of the residents, not the city government. We don't have to watch the negotiations between Mesa and the Cubs and sit around waiting for the other shoe to drop. There is still a lot of work to be done, but its important to celebrate all of their hard work and admit that we are really on our way to started this "Building a Better Mesa."

Mesa PD misconduct

Stay tuned, Chief Gascon has announced a news conference for 5pm today to discuss allegations of misconduct by department members. Is this more officers leaving their guns at city council meetings or is there something more serious?

Will Gascon be implicated in any way or is he calling the conference to show that he is in charge? Following the incident in Washington DC awhile back, will this bring up any more lingering questions of if Gascon can do the job? Would this be enough for him to bolt to San Francisco?

Toby Keith in Mesa tonight

Don't forget that Toby Keith will be in Mesa tonight for the "official" grand opening of his latest bar. It appears that the bar and restaurant is doing well, which is promising considering the slowdown of most other establishments. Hopefully, this attention will attract some other businesses to Riverview, but there is still a long way to go, especially with the push by Tempe Marketplace?

Has anyone else been watching any of the Diamondbacks games this year? When they are on the road, the Fox Sports teams broadcasts "live" from Tempe Marketplace from the different eateries promoting the show and drink specials. Lots of gratuitious shots of the GIANT Tempe Marketplace sign, and a lot of promotion. Its not clear how much they are paying for that, but the perception of superiority over Riverview is readily apparent. This would be a major point of pride for Tempe, if not for the crippling effect that its having on Mill Avenue.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Flake changing is tune on Immigration?

Perhaps watching his brother-in-law get mopped up by Russell Pearce has made Congressman Jeff Flake think a little bit more on his stance on immigration. Or maybe the rumors are true and Flake is looking to come back to Arizona to mount a run for Governor.

Either way, now Flake is saying that illegal immigration is a "key issue." He is proposing "conprehensive reform" which should help ease Mesa's problems. Well, I guess the first step is being willing to admit that Mesa has a problem. However, he doesn't go too far with the issue, just saying that he will be involved, and warning against the heated immigration rhetoric. While we agree with him, this discussion is short on solutions and long on rhetoric itself.

What is even more interesting, is that they couldn't even write a whole story about Flake and immigration. There just wasn't enough to go on, so they threw in a whole second story about the Highway Trust Fund. Maybe he is taking a moment away from his constant crucade against pork to actually get something done for his district.

Tempe Incentive Debate

Someone put together this catchy video criticizing Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman for his railing against development incentives despite Tempe's continued use of them:

Not to be outdone, Hallman answered the video in an impressively quick manner:

We understand the desire to react to criticisms head-on, but linking the critical video on your own website, seems a little silly. Its like, "Hey, welcome to my website, check out the bad stuff people say about me." However, what do we know? We constantly linked to the Mesa Issues impostor when they were trying to steal our thunder. (Speaking of their post from January 2008, Doesn't the Mesa Chamber's endorsement of all three Mayoral candidates seem hilarious now a year and a half later?)

A quick look at Hallman's bio does show that he was elected Mayor in March 2004. I don't remember him weighing in on the ills of incentives when the owners of Tempe Marketplace (which received incentives) railed against Mesa Riverview and used the incentives it was going to receive as one of their major targets.

Was the "meth"od okay back then, but not now? If Tempe had anywhere it could build, they would be changing their tune. In the meantime, enjoy the distraction.